Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
This activity is pretty easy as far as getting supplies together. I have a couple of balls in my room but decided I needed more of them and raided the PE ball closet. Then I pulled out a couple of meter sticks and we were good to go. I did suggest a method of data collection to help the freshman alongdrop the ball and record the 1st bounce height. Then drop the ball from your 1st bounce height to record the 2nd bounce height, etc. I asked for at least 5 bounce heights including the initial drop height. If they couldn't get 5 bounces, they either needed to pick a different ball or drop it from a higher height. I was hoping for students standing on desks and counters but they all chose different balls.


You need a lot of pennies for this. Think of a lot of pennies and then think of more. I'm not kidding. I've got about $1.50 in pennies per group and it works pretty well. Since I use pennies throughout the year, I just keep a container of them in my room.

Decaying Dice
Modeling Exponential Decay 
I borrowed this from Illustrative Mathematics. I purchased a couple hundred dice and went for it.

Multiple Representations Card Sort

Exponential functions card sort review activity: tables, words, equations, graphs. File linked here.

Environmental Math
Modeling oil spills and radiation from current events. 
Mini soap box speech: the topics we use in our examples in math class are a hidden curriculum about what we see as important in society. I want it to be about more than money. This activity uses humanmade environmental disasters as a way to practice creating exponential functions from various pieces of information. Presentation linked here. Student investigation linked here. Practice work linked here.

Tuition Costs

I give students the historical tuition for 3 colleges in our area. Based on those data points, students predict what tuition will look like when they attend. This is some good exponential modeling off messy data right here! Here is the link to the handout.

I suggest clicking on the link at the left for a full write up of this activity. It's based off NCTM's Illuminations lesson: Too Hot to Handle Too Cold to Enjoy.
Depending on your kiddos, you can either do this as an experiment, a modeling activity, or pretty easily convert it to a 3 Act lesson. I prefer the experiment format because I hate sitting for long periods of time and project my attitude onto my students. 